21 July 1884, the auspiciously named Bohumil Kubišta, one of the founders of Czech modern painting, was born in the village of Vlčkovice, some 80 miles northeast of Prague.
“The whole is other than the sum of the parts" (Kurt Koffka, Gestalt psychologist, 1886 – 1941)
During the first decade of the 20th century in Berlin, three students of the German philosopher and psychologist Carl Stumpf set forth to comprehend our ability to perceive and comprehend forms and provide them with a meaningful correlation to an apparently chaotic world. Around 1910, one of them, Max Wertheimer, had formulated his Gestalt theory in six laws that basically defined the parts human perception is composed from. Three years earlier, almost synchronously, in 1907, Picasso had, inspired by Cézanne's “Les Grandes Baigneuses“, Gauguin and African art, created a modern masterpiece that formally structured the space of the canvas and re-aligning the emerging dynamics and values, leaving perspective and meaning to the viewer of the painting. “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon“ was the prelude to arguably the most influential art form among the 20th century’s pluralism of styles, Cubism, and Picasso and his friend Georges Braques began to change the world of art forever. “The senses deform, the mind forms”, Braques wrote quite along the lines of Wertheimer and the Gestalt theory, when his and Picasso’s works entered their next short but highly contagious phase later dubbed “Analytic Cubism“. Closed, coherent forms were dissolved in favour of the form’s rhythm and light, since the Renaissance more often than not just another colour to simulate form, did play no role at all any longer while the painting itself emerged from the background and not vice versa. A revolution indeed and a revelation for the young Czech expressionist Bohumil Kubišta who met Braques and Picasso in Paris and carried the second major influence of his short artist’s life back home to Prague to become the major representative of a Czech peculiarity of the new movement - Cubo-Expressionism, faithful to the motto of “Die Brücke” Kubišta was a member of: “Anyone who directly and honestly reproduces that force which impels him to create belongs to us."
|Expressionist self-portrait of the artist as a young man in 1908|
|Bohumil Kubišta: "Soldier" (1912)|
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